What Is a Spiralizer and How To Use It


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Looking for a way to make healthy meals fun, and maybe even a little exciting? Look no further than a spiralizer, which puts a whole new spin on eating fruit and vegetables.

Photo of a person cranking the handle of an Inspiralizer and making zoodles

Trying to up your fruit and vegetable game doesn’t have to be a chore, thanks to a relatively new little device called a spiralizer vegetable splicer. The best part is it’s incredibly versatile and not limited to only vegetables.

I’ll show you how simple they are to use, discuss how to choose the spiralizer that’s just right for your needs, and reveal new ways to not only meet your food goals but to meet them in the most delicious and flavorful way possible. Put away those cutting boards and knives, because it’s time to spiralize!

Top down photo showing different types of spiralized vegetables

Top 3 benefits of a spiralizer

Getting enough fruits and vegetables daily is often easier in theory than in practice, especially when there are so many other food options that seem, well, much more appealing than a chunk of raw zucchini. Enter the spiralizer; it can transform that raw zucchini, and so many other vegetables, into a pasta substitute that’s fun to eat and delicious, raw or cooked.

1) Healthy & diet-friendly

If you’re monitoring your blood sugar, trying to limit your carbs, or if you’re eating a strictly gluten-free diet, there’s no better investment than a spiralizer to introduce new produce and textures into your cooking repertoire. A big bowl of pasta is absolutely possible when it’s made entirely of vegetables- how great is that? A spiralizer also makes it fun to create Paleo and Whole30 friendly recipes, too.

2) Fast & efficient

When you’re in a hurry, spiralizing vegetables is quick, easy, and efficient, leaving minimal food waste. For example, certain vegetables like sweet potatoes, hard squashes, or root vegetables, cook up in moments instead of hours when spiralized.

The noodles cook quickly, so their vitamins, nutrients, and flavor are more likely to be retained. Not only will you be able to reduce your potential caloric intake by eating more vegetables with every meal, but you’ll also be getting more of the good stuff too.

3) Variety & versatility

Using a spiralizer might expand your vegetable palate, as well. Maybe you didn’t have a clue about what to do with celery root last year, but after buying a spiralizer, a big bowl of sautéed celeriac noodles is one of your favorite things in the world. (Try it!)

And of course, anyone who has children knows how challenging it can be to feed them balanced meals; the spiralizer can make little ones into big fans of beet or zucchini noodles! Don’t be surprised when they ask for seconds.

What foods can be spiralized?

In case you’re wondering, the following is only a small sample of the other types of things that can be spiralized:

  • Fruit: Melon, apple, pear, plantains.
  • Vegetables: Broccoli, zucchini, beets, butternut squash, daikon radish, cucumber, jicama, potato, sweet potato, carrots, turnips, kohlrabi, bell pepper, and cabbage.
The different types of fruits and vegetables you can spiralize

How it works

The spiralizer has fine blades that slice raw vegetables and fruits into an assortment of noodle, or zoodle, shapes. Some devices work like a large pencil sharpener, where you stick the vegetable in and turn it against the blades by hand, while other more advanced models allow you to turn a crank and make noodles quickly with the increased leverage.

Photo showing a detailed view of the cranking arm of a spiralizer

Blade settings

  • Smaller, single-task spiralizers feature one set of blades that are designed to zoodle essential vegetables like zucchini, summer squash, and carrots.
  • Countertop models tend to have as many as four different adjustable blade attachments to make everything from angel hair carrots and cauliflower rice all the way up to a wide ribbon shape or even curly fries for your favorite types of potato (calling all sweet potatoes!). Other units produce shapes like fettuccine, linguine, and spaghetti.

When you have more blades and ways to adjust them, the possibilities for all the lovely and healthy meals you can make seem endless.

Photo showing a detailed view of the blade setting of a spiralizer

How to shop

So, should you go big or keep it small? This all depends on how committed you are to using a spiralizer, as well as how much space your kitchen has.

No matter which style you ultimately decide on, read the time-tested reviews of other owners before you buy, and make sure there’s no shortage of safety features on the spiralizer you have your eye on. I own a hand-held version which is very affordable. However, I prefer using my countertop spiralizer for ease of use.

Shop hand-held spiralizers

You may do fine with a small handheld device if you know you’ll primarily be making zoodles out of softer veggies like zucchini. It works like a giant pencil sharpener.

  • Pros: Small, handheld spiralizers tend to be easy to store, inexpensive, and they make an excellent jumping-off point before a more significant investment.
  • Cons: Not sturdy or large enough for firmer vegetables like beets and celery root. Limited to produce that fits into the unit. Sometimes they can be extra tricky to clean. Making enough food for a larger family on a handheld spiralizer may be a little daunting, so these smaller models work better for smaller groups.

OXO Good Grips Handheld Spiralizer

View Price on Amazon

Shop countertop spiralizers

Typically, these models use a suction cup to attach to a countertop, giving you a secure footing for efficiently processing a large amount of produce. A lever is used to turn and create the various types of noodles.

  • Pros: If you’re an ambitious vegetable lover who has space, investing in a fancier countertop model may be just the thing, especially if you cook for a family and do a lot of healthy entertaining. They come with a wide array of interchangeable stainless steel blades for almost endless creativity. More options of ingredients to spiralize.
  • Cons: Need to find extra storage space and more expensive.

7-Blade Vegetable Slicer

View Price on Amazon

How to use it

  • Spiralizers work best with vegetables and fruit that have firm, solid flesh, are at least 2 inches long, and 1 ½ inches in diameter.
  • They don’t work with soft, juicy fruits or hollow vegetables.
  • Firm veggies like winter squash (i.e., butternut) should be peeled beforehand.
  • Read the instructions of your specific model carefully.

Once you’ve decided on the shape you’d like to make, it’s super easy to start.

  • First, trim the tips off of the vegetable you want to spiralize, and either push it into the opening of the handheld spiralizer or attach it firmly to the core of a tabletop spiralizer.
  • Turn with your hand (or the crank) in a smooth motion towards the blades until the desired quantity of zoodles is made.
Photo of a spiralizer with a zucchini securely held in position

Types of recipes you can make

  • Zoodles: (veggie noodles) You may never crave pasta again once you’ve tried these. No need to boil water and drain, because veggie noodles are cooked until al dente in the pan in a fraction of the time it takes regular pasta. Add them to soups and cold salads, too.
  • Stir fry: Veggie noodles make it possible to create healthy versions of your favorite stir-fry dishes; some devices even have a veggie rice feature so that you can substitute vegetables instead of rice for added nutrients and fiber.
  • Sauté: A quick, five-minute dinner when you get home late is easier (and better) than take-out.
  • Steam: Spiralized vegetables steam super fast and have a lot of surface area to hold onto sauces and dressings, so you use less overall.
  • Bake: Spiralized veggies can be added to savory baked casseroles and dozens of one-pot meals. Fruits and vegetables can be baked into desserts, cookies, enhancing the taste and texture of your recipe. For example, zucchini can be made into a sweet chocolate cake, and no one has to be the wiser.
  • Raw salads: Spiralized vegetables turn ordinary salads into extraordinary ones. Make a pile of angel hair out of a bunch of rainbow carrots in minutes and add your favorite vinaigrette for an invigorating lunch that’s light and delicious.

Cleaning and maintenance

Many spiralizers are dishwasher safe, but by far the biggest complaint among their devoted fans is that they can be tricky to clean.

  • To get ahead of the game, try to rinse off the blades right after you’re finished using them, or soak them in some soapy water to allow any stuck bits to loosen up.
  • Keeping an extra toothbrush in your kitchen drawer that’s designated for cleaning the blades is also a good idea. This keeps your fingers out of harm’s way.
  • Periodically, inspect your device for hairline stress cracks in the plastic, safety guards, or even the spiralizer blades. If you see anything resembling damage, call the customer service number and get their advice before using it again. It’s better to be safe than sorry, especially with newer technology!

How to store

Once you’ve cleaned up your spiralizer, allow everything to air dry before putting it away. Don’t put it too far back in that kitchen cabinet, though, because if you’re like me, it’s a kitchen tool you’ll be using again and again!

Jessica Gavin

I'm a culinary school graduate, cookbook author, and a mom who loves croissants! My passion is creating recipes and sharing the science behind cooking to help you gain confidence in the kitchen.

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3 Comments Leave a comment or review

  1. Judy says

    I love that you are talking about the spiralizer again Jessica as I was just thinking to pull mine out of the cupboard and I can’t wait to get some chicken and basil and Roma tomatoes and make this recipe. But first…come here sweet potato. Smile! will love that. I appreciate you so much Jessica.

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Yes, it’s so much fun to make veggie “noodles” for a healthier meal. Hope you’re doing great, Judy!

  2. Judy says

    I love my sprirolizer. It is fun, you get a ton of food from just one vegetable and I feel so full from actually so little.